A native of Atlanta, Georgia, Joe Alterman studied music at New York University, where he received both his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Jazz Piano Performance. In addition to performances with Houston Person, Les McCann and his own trio, among others, Alterman has performed at many world renowned venues including the Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Birdland and New York’s Blue Note, where Alterman has opened, many times, for Ramsey Lewis. 30 years old, Alterman has released four critically-acclaimed albums, his most recent being 2018’s “More Cornbread”. He was profiled three times by iconic journalist Nat Hentoff and was the subject of Hentoff’s very last piece on music in March 2016. Dick Cavett has referred to Alterman as “one fine, first class entertainer” and Ramsey Lewis has called Alterman “an inspiration to me” and his piano playing “a joy to behold”.
"Joe Alterman combines outstanding musical technique with infectious enthusiasm for his work. I've seen him fill a room with joy as his skill at the keyboard combines seamlessly with his delightful and appealing onstage personality. Young Alterman is one fine, first-class entertainer.” - Dick Cavett
"All the musicians who are now considered jazz legends played there [Birdland]: Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Lester Young, Count Basie, Oscar Peterson and Duke Ellington, among others. Alterman would have been able to hold his own jamming with any of them." — Nat Hentoff
"Joe Alterman, although much younger than I, is an inspiration to me! His piano playing, his will to explore and his ability to swing is something to behold. God bless him!"— Ramsey Lewis
"Little Joe - yeah, that's what I call him, 'cause I am big and he is tiny, but only in stature. As a man and a musician he is already a giant. His zeal for life and learning is the perfect formula for taking our music to new levels. Right now, hes young. Right now, he gets it. He is on the verge of fully becoming himself. Little Joe, my man...He beeza bad MF. He is a true inspiration to me."— Les McCann
"Joe Alterman is doing his part to keep alive the art of the swinging trio. He is a wonderful pianist whose playing brings smiles and good feelings to his listeners - as he has caused me to experience when I heard his enjoyable album." - Monty Alexander
"Joe is, for me, absolutely one of the most musically enjoyable, swingingest Jazz pianists who can be heard playing today. Everything about his genuine love and affinity for the spirit and essence of straight-ahead Jazz and blues shines through his piano. Joe plays, arranges and improvises with a wholly honest and compelling depth of feeling, a gift of melodic substance, the ability to communicate with an economy of superfluous notes and an abundance of warm, honest to goodness soul. Joe always swings his tail off, honors the heritage of the Jazz language and the voices of his astutely-chosen influences, as well as conveying the spontaneity of the moment. He conveys his musical ideas with a rare kind of directness and clarity and has so much fun in what he’s doing, never failing to bring the listener along for the ride. Joe's music sings with tremendous, unpretentious joy in every brilliant note - he is not to be missed!" - Benny Green
"Joe has a great sense of what is most meaningful in the history and tradition of our music, and a real solid musical vision of where he wants to take it."— Houston Person
“Pianist Joe Alterman pulls off one of the rarer feats in modern jazz: he swings — hard.” – Downbeat Magazine
In a recent interview with Brian Lehrer on WNYC, legendary journalist Nat Hentoff stated, "The last piece I did for them [The Wall Street Journal] - I'm so glad I had a chance to do it - is about a 24 year old pianist [now 27] and composer named Joe Alterman, who is really the personification of the past of jazz - he's really deep into that -, the present of jazz - he has his own voice - and that leads him into the future of jazz, and he's so important in terms of the validity of jazz...[Joe Alterman & one of his mentors, tenor saxophonist Houston Person] make recordings that - to use the phrase that Duke Ellington really had a chance to use - are 'beyond category' because they're timeless."
Born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Alterman moved to New York in the fall of 2007 to study music at New York University, where he earned both his Bachelor's and Master’s Degrees in Music. While there, he had the opportunity to study with greats including Don Friedman, Joe Lovano and John Scofield.
He has headlined at venues around the United States including the Blue Note Jazz Club in New York, The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Germantown Performing Arts Center in Memphis, Rialto Center For The Performing Arts in Atlanta, Preservation Hall in New Orleans, Earl Klugh's Weekend of Jazz in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, among others; in addition to New York's Blue Note Jazz Club, Alterman has also headlined at other venues in New York City including the Iridium, the Kitano, 21 Club, Le Cirque, and Jazz at Lincoln Center's Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and has performed overseas at venues that include the Blue Note Jazz Club in Milan, Italy.
Among many others, Alterman has performed with Les McCann, Houston Person, Tony Middleton and bassist James Cammack, with whom Alterman also works frequently with in a duo setting. In addition, he and his trio have performed multiple times at the Blue Note Jazz Club as an opening act for greats including Les McCann, Ramsey Lewis, Philip Bailey (of Earth, Wind & Fire), John Pizzarelli and Hiromi, among others.